“We definitely have the potential to have a busy business district.”
As part of our exploration of Beechview’s business district, we spoke to Bryan Szafranski, 9-year resident who’s vice-chair of BRAG, the Beechview Revitalization Advisory Group. Here’s our Q&A.
How would you describe Beechview to someone unfamiliar with the neighborhood?
Beechview is a quiet, safe neighborhood and we definitely have the potential to have a busy business district. We think that once the Atlas Development project at 1600 Broadway gets underway, it will draw more attention to Beechview, and other individuals and/or developers will see the potential in our business district.
What’s your take on the new businesses on Broadway? What other kinds of businesses do you think would benefit the community or be of value?
We are very excited to see the new businesses coming to Beechview. Hopefully the new restaurants will draw more people to the neighborhood, and will show any businesses hoping to relocate to the Beechview/Banksville/West Liberty corridor that our neighborhood is starting to bounce back from years of stagnant growth.
Some of the conversation we have heard in the neighborhood as to what people would like to see seems to center around a diner/breakfast spot and a coffee shop. While that would be a great start, we also feel that Beechview needs more non-retail businesses in the area in order to draw more people coming to Beechview during the working day, who will patronize our retail businesses.
Do you think officials are doing a good job taking into account what residents need and ask for? How is Councilor Coghill doing so far?
Councilman Coghill and his Chief of Staff Moira Kaleida have consistently provided quick responses to neighborhood issues and concerns.
The major project that is currently in the works is the Broadway Avenue Public Realm project. There have been several community input meetings to show the possible options for Broadway Avenue and to get community input on those options. The neighborhood is currently waiting on the design outcome of those meetings and a possible construction schedule.
How about the advisory group: is there something that makes BRAG different from other community organizations?
BRAG endeavours to be a a group for all demographics represented within Beechview to have their voices heard. We would like members of all segments of Beechview to be involved in helping with the renewal of our neighborhood.
Our Promotions Committee is currently looking for additional community members that want to get involved. It meets monthly at Sorgatron Media, and if anyone is interested in working with us, that’s a great place to start.
Kim Lyons is the Pittsburgh Current Editor-at-Large. Contact her at email@example.com